It is said that Christmas is a chance to count your blessings, sheltered as most of us are in the bosom of our families. And yet, it is only when things go awry that most of us realise just how lucky we are.
2005 has not, on the face of it, been a stellar year for this particular faceless bureaucrat. My divorce came through two days before the General Election, although it would have had more impact had it not taken me more than six weeks to find out. On the other hand, I have been fortunate enough to have family and friends who have indulged me and put up with my occasional mood swings and eccentricities.
There have been triumphs too. I have tried my best to fulfil a clutch of political roles and those who I have worked with appear to think that I have some credibility, which comes as a pleasant surprise. Their support and understanding has been another of the year's highlights.
I even jumped off a bridge (with a bungy cord attached, I hasten to add) and began to rediscover the true Mark - not such a bad person to know, I flatter myself to believe - someone who had been in self-imposed exile for ten years.
And so I realise how lucky I am. Given the unpleasant and/or unfortunate things that have happened to others this year, as well as those who are without the supporting scaffolding of friends, families and workmates, life could be so much worse. The realisation of such good fortune inspires me to continue working for a better, more inclusive, more open society, which is surely what liberalism is all about.
And so I will aim to work as hard, or harder, than I did this year, and continue to count my blessings, even when life proves to be more than unusually trying. The fortunate amongst us owe it to those less fortunate, don't we?